February filings: Following the political money trail


Democratic party committees edged their Republican counterparts, labor unions wrote big checks to their allies while the Club for Growth took in six and seven-figure checks from two of its most loyal supporters. Those were some of the highlights from Thursday’s disclosures with the Federal Election Commission, the deadline for committees that report on a monthly schedule to file their financial reports. National party committees, PACs and some super PACs file monthly; candidate committees file quarterly, and we won’t see their next disclosures until April 15.

Sunlight’s Real-Time FEC allows you to sort the filings by money raised, cash on hand or total spent to easily spot where political dollars are flowing. See the top 20 committees (by receipts) in the table below, with links to each group’s Real-Time page.

The takeaways from this month? National party committees dominate the fundraising scene as per usual. The Democratic National Committee raised $7.5 million, about $350,000 more than the Republican National Committee. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which seeks to elect House Democrats, raised $6.4 million to the GOP’s $5.1 million.

Meanwhile, the political arms of several powerful labor unions cut big checks to Democratic political committees: the Teamsters Union dished out $200,000 to the Democratic Governors’ Association, $100,000 a piece to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which focuses on state races, and to the Senate Majority PAC, $50,000 to opposition research factory American Bridge and $25,000 to the House Majority PAC, among other disbursements. The SEIU’s political arm also chipped in $50,000 to the House Majority PAC. While the United Steelworkers gave $300,000 to Maine’s State Democratic Party, where Mike Michaud is attempting to win the governor’s mansion from incumbent Republican Paul LePage. The United Food and Commercial Workers’ super PAC also threw some of its muscle into a hot gubernatorial race: giving $150,000 each to the Illinois Freedom state PAC and the Democratic Governor’s Association.

The vast majority of the ultra-conservative Club for Growth Action’s monthly cash flow came from two perennial givers: A $1 million dollar check from New Jersey investor Virginia James and $200,000 from Jerry Hayden, who also sits on the group’s Board of Directors. Koch PAC (yes, that Koch) pulled in donations from a wide array of upper level employees from various business units of Koch Industries.

The National Association of Realtors is showing itself to be a serious force on the campaign scene. The trade group — which boasts more than one million members — raised $2.5 million for its super PAC and a bit over $1.1 million for its ‘regular’ PAC in February. The NAR’s super PAC spent $180,000 dollars on direct mail, TV ads and polling to support incumbent Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas who defeated primary challenger Katrina Pierson earlier in March.

Emily’s List and ActBlue, also among the biggest recipients of campaign cash in February, act as “pass through” committees that funnel ear-marked money from small donors to Democratic candidates. The list of the top twenty is above.